Even before the half assed story gets a chance to totally underwhelm and disappoint the audience, the opening titles do a pretty amazing job of that in just a minute or two. An attempted fun, silly, animated sequence, the cartoons look cheaper, jerkier and lazier than the worst cartoon of the early 80s. Next to this, The Masters of the Universe looks like Pixar genius. And the music sounds like someone with no musical knowledge turning on the world’s cheapest Casio keyboard for the very first time, then just pressing buttons to see what would happen. If this entire opening titles sequence cost more than about $7.50, the studio was ripped off.
Like most quickly slapped together sequels to surprise hit comedies, the first few minutes of Weekend at Bernie’s II are all about negating any character development, lessons learned or story closure from the first movie. In this case, Larry and Richard, played by Andrew McCarthy and Jonathan Silverman, are not the corporate heroes they though they’d be after uncovering Bernie’s chicanery in the first movie. Instead, they’re fired from their job because… Well, because it makes it easier for the story to lazily galumph in the most obvious direction if they’re fired. That’s why.
Through some even lazier, more convenient story developments, Bernie is reanimated via voodoo and he, along with Larry and Richard, end up in the Virgin Islands. And I might just leave it at that. I’m a afraid going into any more detail about this dumb, dumb premise might actually make me dumber.
The first movie stuck with a pretty tried and true character dynamic. Jonathan Silverman’s Richard was the uptight, play be the rules stick in the mud. Andrew McCarthy’s Larry was the wacky best friend. It’s a simple, effective combo that makes it easy for the audience to know who’s who from the get go. In Weekend at Bernie’s II, a lot of that is abandoned with Richard immediately onboard with Larry’s wackiest schemes. The relationship in the original might night have been ground breaking, but at least it attempted make them separate people. For long stretches of the sequel, it’s basically just two Larry-types trying to out wacky each other.
I will admit, I did laugh out loud at one joke involving a man holding a chicken in porno theatre. As over the top as that sounds, it was one of the few moments when the movie went for something small, instead of big, broad, whiplash inducing mugging.
When Weekend at Bernie’s II was released, I was 12 years old and a fan of the first movie. Now, you’d be doing well to find someone much dumber and with worse taste than a 12 year old dude. Even then, I knew to avoid this movie. In the decades since, it’s become a pretty standard punch line and shorthand for lazy sequel. Having now finally scene it, that punch line, shorthand status is definitely justified. I guess there’s only one movie worth of corpse desecration jokes.
Weekend at Bernie’s II
Directed By – Robert Klane
Written By – Robert Klane